Netflix 'moving quickly' on globally accessible content to remove need for VPNs

'The VPN thing is a small little asterisk compared to piracy'

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The Independent Culture

Netflix expanded into 130 new countries today making it available almost everywhere in the world, and alongside this news we got an update on the content restrictions by region issue that has annoyed users for years now.

After Netflix announced on Twitter that it was now “everywhere”, a follower replied: “and same content everywhere…?”

“Still prisoners of territorial licensing,” Netflix responded, “moving quickly to have global availability of all content on Netflix.”

The licensing restrictions referenced mean that very different slates of content are available depending on your location (the UK, for instance, doesn’t have Friends or The US Office, while America does).

This has led thousands of users to turn to VPNs so they can bypass them, something which Netflix doesn’t deny and isn’t hugely bothered about.

"The VPN thing is a small little asterisk compared to piracy," CEO Reed Hastings noted last year. "Piracy is really the problem around the world."

Instead of cracking down on VPN use, Netflix is beavering away trying to remove the territorial restrictions.

“The basic solution is for Netflix to get global and have its content be the same all around the world so there’s no incentive to [use a VPN]," Hastings explained. "Then we can work on the more important part which is piracy.

"The key thing about piracy is that some fraction of it is because [users] couldn’t get the content. That part we can fix.

"Some part of piracy however is because they just don’t want to pay. That’s a harder part. As an industry, we need to fix global content."

Let’s hope Netflix really is “moving quickly” with this, though creating game-changing worldwide licensing is no mean feat.